Say cheese.

The mist lingered this morning, its fine droplets revealing the previously invisible homes of spiders in our lawn and garden. Looking out our patio door, we could see dozens of patches of fine white weave among the backyard foliage.

My daughter took one look and declared that she was never going out there again.

I admire spiders. Unless they’re in the house, in which case I will stop at nothing to return them to the great outdoors. The plan to do so must somehow include staying as far away as possible from the spider. In most cases, said plan involves me calling the Mr. to scoop up the spider and fling it into the backyard.

So despite all my admiration, they still give me the heebie-jeebies. I was determined not to “never” go into my own backyard again, so to prove my bravery to my first-grader, I slipped on my shoes and sidled up close to the dewdrops, trying to get a peek inside the woven funnels where these spiders lurk.

Fine, maybe they’re not lurking. In fact, they’re probably hiding from big, lumbering creatures like me.

My daughter didn’t really stick around to witness my act of courage, but I soon forgot about that as I became preoccupied with the jewels clinging to the silken webs and spruce needles.

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Well, I’m no nature expert, but a quick Google search suggests these arachnids are classified as Agelenopsis (“grass spiders”) – and according to, they’re “timid” and “non-aggressive.” (Whew.) And, in that case, I’m glad this one stuck around to pose for me.

July 14 (3 of 3)


Multiple personalities.

Yesterday the rain prevented me from strolling around my backyard, but look what I found hiding behind the shed this morning.

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Today I thought I’d share a few versions of my subject, since I’m having a lot of fun learning about post-processing techniques. Holy smokes, it’s easy to lose track of time while a) squinting at things in the backyard and b) playing around in Lightroom. This is bad if you have other tasks you’re supposed to be doing, such as working, eating, sleeping, etc. (I’m supposed to be vacuuming right now).

I tried all three of these shots with a soft, glow-y type of adjustment, then in a monochrome style. It’s amazing how changes in light, tone and focus can impact a photo.

April 21 (3 of 6)April 21 (4 of 6)


When I treated the shot below in the same monochrome look as the others, it was super dark and didn’t really preserve a lot of details. I tried an alternative and though it’s better, I still don’t think it really works. I guess sometimes colour just has more impact.

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I’m looking forward to all my backyard discoveries this season.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the house is not going to vacuum itself.


April 12 (1 of 1)

Our tomatoes, seen here, are awake and eager, reaching upwards from their tiny peat pots by the window. Basil isn’t far behind, but lavender’s going to make us wait.

I don’t know much about the garden except that I like puttering around in it. This is true especially in early spring, when tiny signs of life start emerging from earth that seemed as though it had been dark and dead for ages.

For the past couple of years, the kids have helped start a few seeds indoors. We have a small plastic planting tray with those peat pellets that swell when they’re watered. The kids use a toothpick to place the seeds, and label the rows so we know what we’re looking at (and which kid planted it) once they sprout.

I’d hoped that if the children would be involved in cultivating a few backyard vegetables, they’d actually eat some. (Nope. Not a chance.)

Whether they end up consuming our harvest or not, I’m glad to see the kids experiencing the wonder of a seed starting to realize its potential – a seed they held in their hand, a seed they personally placed in the right conditions for new life.

The kids check on the seeds’ progress daily. Her tomato plants are winning, and his basil’s in second place, but I’m pretty sure we’re all rooting for the underdog.

Come on out, lavender. No need to be afraid. I’m almost certain the kids won’t eat you.